How to Finance Your MBA in the US

How to Finance Your MBA in the US

Studying abroad is not exactly a cheap endeavor, but then again, the experience one obtains while in a foreign country is invaluable. If you want to broaden your horizons, gain an education you could never obtain through textbooks, expand your network, increase your potential and enjoy the experience of a lifetime, it’s worth it to pay a little more for a great academic experience abroad. That said, finances are still a very real concern, and without the right funding, an out-of-country education is just not feasible. While you may be able to pay for part of your education out of pocket, there are other, easier options. At SchoolApply, we help students finance their education no matter where in the world they choose to go. Here are some options to consider when planning how you will finance your MBA studies in the US.

  • Scholarships for International MBA Students

    There are dozens of scholarships available for international students, if not hundreds. You just have to know where to look for them. A few of the more common types of scholarships that you should look into include: Need-based ScholarshipsMerit-based Scholarships University ScholarshipsGovernment Scholarships Athletic Scholarships Specific Scholarships

  • Need-based Scholarships

    As their name implies, need-based scholarships are awarded to individuals who have a pressing financial need, or those who come from low-income families. They are also awarded to those with disabilities. These types of scholarships, or grants, don’t have to be repaid and often are valued at between $500 and $2,500 USD. Though several different countries offer these types of awards, the US and Germany are the greatest advocates of need-based funding. If you hope to earn a need-based scholarship, you are required to prove your need via bank statements, tax returns, medical records or some other revealing form of documentation.

  • Merit-based Scholarships

    These types of grants are awarded to individuals based on a set of criteria, typically determined by the grantor or the university doing the awarding. Some factors these sources consider before awarding a scholarship based on distinction include a person’s academic background, hobbies, talents, achievements and extracurricular activities. A donator may also consider career aspirations and professional affiliations. These scholarships are often awarded by governments, corporations, universities, local businesses and professional organizations. If you are interested in this type of scholarship, visit a site dedicated to helping students locate scholarships for which they may be eligible. USA Today has put together a list of the 10 best sites to look for scholarships, a great place to start.

  • University Scholarships

    Many universities offer full rides, partial rides and small amounts of funding to students who meet certain criteria. Many scholarships are designed for certain degree levels, while some are awarded to the most “unique applicants.” Some scholarships cover tuition, living expenses travel costs while others cover the cost of health coverage and accommodations. In France, many of the scholarships provide students with a monthly allowance and cover cultural activities such as visits to museums and day trips. As an international student, you may find this article by US News to be helpful, as it covers the top ten universities where international students receive the most aid.

  • Government Scholarships

    Government scholarships are some of the most common types of scholarships awarded to individuals, as most governments like to achieve a certain level of diversity at their schools. Many of these scholarships are merit-based, though government scholarships often fall into several different categories. Some governments set aside money specifically for low-income students, while others set aside grants for students from a specific country. However, most governments follow the same set of criteria when awarding their grants: Students must meet the educational requirements of the chosen university. Students must possess a certain level of knowledge of the language in which courses are taught at the institutions for which they applied. Additionally, most scholarships are awarded to those who fall beneath the age limit, which is typically 35. Government grants last for three, six or nine months and often cover tuition, monthly living expenses, airfare and additional essential expenditures.

  • Athletic Scholarships

    If you’re an athlete, one of the best ways to fund your education is with a sports scholarship. Most universities, especially those without major sports teams, are just looking for enough players to fill a team, which means that you don’t have to be very good at the sport you play –just good enough. However, because a lot of people play sports, it’s not enough to be a part of a team. Schools want to enroll well-rounded individuals, so in addition to being smart and athletic, it wouldn’t hurt to be artistic or charitable (or both). For instance, if you regularly volunteer at a soup kitchen with your volleyball team, discuss that in the essay portion. If you were recently awarded a grant for your artwork or writing, highlight that in your application. The more well-rounded you appear to be, the better your chances of winning an athletic scholarship.

  • Specific Scholarships

    Many scholarships are extremely specific. How specific? Let’s take a look: Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA)—USA Scholarship – UNIMA awards $1,000 to one lucky second-level puppeteer who is over the age of 18 and who is also a North American citizen. A person may only win this award if he or she plans to study under the tutorship of a recognized puppetry professional or at a professional program outside of the continent. Tall Clubs International Scholarships – If you’re tall, this is your lucky day. This grant is awarded to freshmen students who are above average height, which, as of right now, is 6’2” for men and 5’10” for women. In order to qualify, you must be under the age of 21, entering your first year of college and be sponsored by your local TCI Member Club. If you’re tall enough, you may win $1,000 toward your education. CKSF Scholarship Competition – Your education isn’t a game but funding it might be! You can win this award by competing in a series of quizzes that test your knowledge of a range of topics, including academics, books, movies and websites. The students with the highest scores at the end of each competition win and walk away with $2,500. National Rice Month Scholarship – If you are a high school senior in a rice growing state, which include Arkansas, California, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Missouri, you may qualify for this prestigious award. To apply, submit a three-minute video about US rice, National Rice month and your thoughts on the importance of rice to your state. Do well and you could win $4,000. Of course, not all specific scholarships are so specific. Some committees award grants based on ethnicity, last name, disabilities, hardships, health conditions and the like. The point is, there are scholarships out there for everyone and you just need to do some research to find one that you qualify for.

  • Loans

    If you do not qualify for a full-ride scholarship, you will likely need more help than the $1,000 you earn from UNIMA or TCI. Though not ideal, loans are handy for funding an education. The great thing is, an MBA is meant to increase your earning potential and improve your career opportunities, so even if you’re forced to take out a bank loan or two, you can do so knowing that you will be able to comfortably repay it once you start your career. According to a study published in Forbes, post-MBA starting pay was 50% more than pre-graduate degree pay, a fact that has remained consistently true over the years. After five years of working with an MBA, research suggests that your salary may increase to as much as 80% of the pre-MBA amount. Loans are available through the government, financial institutions and through third-party lenders.

  • Family Funding

    Finally, if all else fails, your family may discover a way to fund your trip for you. You can help them out by trying to gain work while abroad, saving up from your summer jobs and picking up as many odd jobs as you can. While you can save money on tuition by doubling up on your class load, doing so may defeat the purpose of studying abroad, as it would mean a shorter amount of time in your host country. Also, between work and a heavy course load, you may find little to no time to socialize with your peers and really make the most of your experience. While as much help from your family as possible would be great, the best thing you can do to ensure that you make the most of the program is apply to scholarships, look for grants, look into sandwich programs and save up. Additionally, you may be better off taking out a loan than trying to fund your whole education abroad yourself.   If you and your family need help funding your semester or year abroad, reach out to SchoolApply. We have the resources you need to uncover financing opportunities you may have never even considered.

Levels Explained

  • Bachelor's

    A bachelor's degree (also called a first degree or undergraduate degree) is attained after receiving a post-secondary (high school) education and generally spans four years. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as bachelor or undergraduate students. A bachelor's degree is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university.

  • Master's

    A master’s degree (or postgraduate or graduate education) involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees. This degree is preceded by a bachelor’s degree and generally takes two years to complete. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as master's, or grad students.

  • Pathway

    Bachelor’s and master’s pathway programs are designed for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation before continuing to a degree program at a university. The purpose of these programs are to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college.